The headlines this morning are dominated by news of the movie-theater massacre that took place very early this morning in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo. Here's a roundup of news and analysis about the event:
A 24-year-old lone gunman identified by police as James Holmes, a white male, burst into a midnight screening of the new Batman flick, "The Dark Knight Rises," threw a smoke grenade and opened fire on the audience with an assault rifle. There are 12 dead (10 died at the scene, and two at local hospitals) and more than 30 wounded, according to ABC News.
Police have Holmes in custody, arresting him in the theater parking lot. The FBI is assisting in the investigation and has said there's no reason to believe Holmes was associated with any larger terrorist organization. There is no known motive at this point.
While in custody, Holmes apparently referred to the presence of explosives in his nearby apartment. A SWAT team was deployed to the building, which was evacuated, and pushed a video camera through the outside window to investigate inside the apartment. No word yet on what they found.
While no one knows Holmes's motive at this point, ABC News went out on a limb and reported that they had found a reference to a "Jim Holmes" of Aurora, Colo., on the website for Colorado's Tea Party, according to Politico. Seems too soon to report such a thing without first confirming whether it's the same James Holmes. (Here's the Tea Party website ABC News cited.)
Holmes's rampage was the largest mass shooting in Colorado since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, which is only 15 miles from the site of this morning's shooting.
Dale Stockton, editor of www.LawOfficer.com, offers his commentary on the law enforcement response to this morning's shooting and best practices for responding to mass-casualty events.
Colorado's gun laws are fairly liberal, and this event has created the customary calls for stricter gun control.
The International Business Times includes a summary of the gun laws in Colorado, including the fact that gun registration is not required.
New York City Michael Bloomberg made his anti-gun beliefs known on a morning radio talk show. “Soothing words are nice,” Bloomberg said, according to Politico. “But maybe it’s time the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic?’”
CNN's Piers Morgan shared his opinion on Twitter this morning: "Horrendous details from this Colorado cinema shooting. America has got to do something about its gun laws. Now is the time."
Plenty of people jumped on his back, including journalist and columnist Michelle Malkin, who tweeted that "armed CO citizens have SAVED lives in mass shootings," including this link to information about a 2007 church shooting where an armed parishioner saved lives by taking down the shooter.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, released a statement saying she was "deeply saddened" by the incident. "Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies continue to respond to this horrific event and I have directed the Department of Homeland Security to provide any support necessary in the ongoing investigation," she said. "We are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. Our hearts and prayers go out to anyone impacted by this tragedy, especially the family and friends of those killed or injured.”
President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney have said they will address the incident in remarks today.